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L.A. music scene vets turn out for Peter Case benefit salute

May 4, 2009 |  4:45 pm


A raft of stalwarts from L.A.’s Americana music scene, including but not limited to those who started their careers at local clubs during the 1980s, turned up over the weekend at McCabe’s in Santa Monica during three nights of shows to salute the music of Peter Case and help him pay down the bills from his double bypass heart surgery in January.

T-Bone Burnett, Dave Alvin, Carla Olson, Stan Ridgway, Syd Straw and Phranc appeared along with such friends and admirers as Van Dyke Parks, Loudon Wainwright III, Richard Thompson and Bob Neuwirth. Case, the one-time lead singer and songwriter for the Nerves and the Plimsouls and Grammy-nominated solo artist, played Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine Blues” at Friday’s show. He was backed by the Section Quartet on Sunday for “A Million Miles Away” and then reunited with the other members of the Plimsouls for “Oldest Story in the World,” while the numerous guests offered renditions of favorite Case songs or others chosen for the occasion.

Plimsouls Eddie Munoz and David Pahoa accompanied Carla Olson in the act's’ “Now,” Burnett played a handful of new songs at Sunday’s show, Parks and his recent collaborator Inara George played her “Idaho,” Phranc sang “Growing Old in L.A.” and Alvin chose to cover Case’s “On My Way Downtown.” Sam Phillips delivered “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” her song that Robert Plant and Alison Krauss recorded on “Raising Sand,” and Thompson sang one of his signature works, “The Dimming of the Day,” before Sunday’s concert concluded with the assembled masses singing Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin'  Heart.”

“I’m glad to be alive,” Case said before the weekend performances, “and lucky to have such great friends.”

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Peter Case. Credit: Denise Sullvan